Theories of State Functions. The final purpose of political philosophy is to determine the essential nature of political authority, the relation in which the individual stands to the state, and the relation in which states stand to one another. Accordingly, theories of state function cannot be entirely separated from those of state organization.
The question of what the state should do depends to a large extent upon who controls the state and how effectively it is organized to accomplish the desired purposes. On the other hand, the question of how the state should be organized depends to a large degree upon what the state is expand to accomplish.
Functions which may be satisfactorily performed by some states might be undesirable if attempted by others. Forms of government suited to one people, who have certain needs which the state is expected to meet, would be entirely suitable to other peoples, with different problems.
Similarly there is a close connection between the activities of the state to in relation to its citizens and its activities in its relation to its citizens and its activity in its relations to other states. A country that is laced with difficult international problems or whose existence is threatened by a powerful enemy may yet compelled to control and discipline its own people in it tray ma would not be necessary for a state whose external relations were untroubled.
In this chapter, attention will be given to the main theories that have been put forward concerning the proper scope of state function, especially in its internal aspects. The main problem involved is the relation of the state to the individuals composing it and the degree to which the state should restrict the freedom of individual action or should itself act to promote what it considers the general welfare. These theories mow wide variation, ranging from the point of View of the anarchists at one extreme to that of the state socialists at the other.
The former deny the necessity of the state, the latter would extend its activities to the maximum extent. Between these extremes are all shades of opinion, varying from the individualists, who would limit the state to essential functions only or would permit only a narrow range of optional functions to those who would permit a considerable degree of state regulation and of positive action for the promotion of the common welfare in conclusion, some attention will be given to certain theories that have appeared in recent years and that have been given practical application in several modern states. These theories are Concerned with the problems both of organization and function.
The simplest solution of the problem of state function is that of the anarchists, who would abolish the State entirely. They aim to combine the ideals of individualism and socialism, the two great currents of nineteenth-century axial Worm. From the former they derive their dislike of the state and their enthusiasm for individual initiative. From the latter drive: their hatred of private property and their hell that workers are being exploited individualistic anarchists place property rights in the individual and leave him free to your in Minions or not, as he chooses.
Communistic anarchists place and property rights in the hands of voluntary social groups, and emphasize the welfare of humanity rather than that of the individual. Anarchists are in agreement in opposing the use of coercive authority and in carrying the doctrine of individual freedom to extreme lengths.
They would destroy the state and replace it by voluntary associations resting on the continuing agreement of those composing them. The only government that they would permit would be that to which men freely give their consent. Modern states, they believe, are corrupt and tyrannical, conducted in the interests of privileged classes, and repressive over large and dissatisfied groups. They deny the right of any person or of any association to rule over any individual against his will. They aim at justice and freedom, and believe that the exercise of forcible authority by the State is never justified.
Anarchists are not in agreement as to the methods by which the state should be overthrown or as to the nature of the social and economic regime which would follow the abolition of political authority. Revolutionary anarchists believe that the existing governmental system should be resisted in every way, and should be destroyed by violence. They advocate assassination and destruction, arguing that direct action alone can accomplish their purpose.
Philosophical anarchists hold that the state may be gradually weakened and finally destroyed by peaceful persuasion, the effect of which will increase as man becomes more enlightened intellectually. They are confident that human society is evolving toward a condition in which coercive political authority will be no longer needed and will therefore disappear.
There is also divergence of opinion among anarchists as to how economic goods should be held and distributed, though in general they Oppose private property as leading to inequalities that destroy individual freedom. Anarchism is primarily a destructive and critical theory, and those who have outlined constructive programs are not in agreement as to the nature of the system that should replace the state. In general they favor a series voluntary associations, which men may join it they will and from which they are free to withdraw.
These associations would arm the few essential functions of government, such as maintaining order and enforcing contracts, and would offer their crevices to those who needed their aid or protection. Such a system, they believe, is superior because it abolishes coercive ,authority and rests on the principle of sell government. It opposes the theory of the state, in which membership is compulsory and in which law is administered by the use of force.
The difficulties involved in such a system are evident. The form of social organization proposed would be wholly inadequate to deal with the complex problems of the modern world. It successful working would demand an intelligence and an unselfishness far beyond that ever attained by any group of imperfect human beings.
Moreover, the anarchists err in believing that authority and liberty are contradictory, and that freedom can be secured by abolishing law and government. If authority is destroyed, the result is not perfect freedom for all but the tyranny of the strong over the weak.
History teaches that civilization, order, and peace are accomplished only by placing restraints upon the unlimited freedom of individuals. If the present type of state were destroyed as the anarchists desire, their form of social organization would soon develop into a state. Only the form of government would be changed and the use of restraint and force would again be necessary.
Some form of law and government is an absolute necessity among civilized men. In so far as the anarchists point out evils in the present political organization of the world. their theory is valuable but their own doctrines are based on false assumptions, and the solution they propose would be ineffective and impossible.
Unlike the anarchist the individualist considers the state a necessity, though he views it as an evil, whose activities should be kept within the narrowest possible bounds. It is necessary only because oi the imperfections of mankind and its sole duty is to protect the life, liberty, and property of individuals from violence or fraud.
The individualist Consider every extension oi the power of the state as a restriction of the sphere of individual freedom. The state is therefore justified in interference only for the purpose only or the purpose of protecting its Citizens in from interference on the part of other citizens, and is not justified in further activity, even for purposes admittedly beneficial .
Its duty is to restrain and protect against selfish or thoughtless persons, not to take positive action for the promotion of the general good. This view is frequently accompanied by the he lief that as the sense of order and morality becomes more advanced the need for state action will diminish, and that the ideal condition would be that in which the state no huge, exists because no longer needed.
individualists are not in agreement as to the exact functions which the State should undertake. In its extreme form the doctrine approaches that of the anarchists. On the other hand, then are many thinkers who, while placing chief emphasis on the rights of the individual and the lull development oi his powers, believe that this can be best accomplished in some cases by state regulation and even by a limited amount of direct state action.
They believe that the state is justified not only in maintaining its own existence and in protecting the life, liberty, and property of its citizens but also in undertaking such other functions as, under existing conditions, may be conducive to general welfare.
This point of View, while resting on an individualistic basis is modified by utilitarian and opportunistic considerations. It holds that the exercise oi each function by the state must be determined by its results in promoting the best interests of individuals and of society. In this form the theory may he gradually modified toward the socialistic point of view.
The doctrine of individualism came into prominence in the latter part of the eighteenth century, as a reaction against the evils of governmental interference of that period and as a result oi the prevailing belief in a natural law in the political, econ mic, and biological world, which should be allowed to work itself out without man’s interference. It served as a basis for the democratic revolutionary movements of the time and for the economic doctrines of the physiocrats and the free-traders.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the individualist theory had been seriously undermined by the growth of socialistic ideas and by the reform movements which demanded state action. The theory of individualism assumed somewhat different aspects ac cording as it was viewed in its ethical, political, economic or scientific aspects but from all of them arguments were drawn favoring individual freedom and restricted state activity.
1. Ethical :
Abstract conceptions of justice and of natural law based on right reason were used to support the theory of individualism. From this point of view it was argued that each man knew his own interests best and that the individual should be let alone to develop his own powers and to realize the purpose of his existence. Restriction upon his freedom destroyed his self reliance and initiative, weakened his character, and limited his possibilities of development. Over government tended to crush individuality and to reduce men to a level of mediocre uniformity. Freedom alone enabled men to develop their faculties, strengthen their character, and achieve their highest civilization Men were naturally free they had inherent rights which should be respected restrictions upon freedom resulted only in evil.
The political doctrine of individualism arose from the social-contract theory, which was used to attack the theory of divine right in the contest between monarchy and democracy. The kings of the eighteenth century asserted that they were the agents of God on earth. As such they could do no wrong, and they assumed for the state wide and paternalistic powers of regulation and control over the actions of their peoples.
The opponents of monarchy naturally wished to weaken the power of the system that they were attacking. Viewing the exercise of extensive governmental authority by an irresponsible monarch as an evil, they were led to regard all authority is an evil.
They placed their emphasis on the individual and his rights, not on the state and its powers. According to their doctrine, men were originally free and equal, possessing certain natural rights. The state Will there deliberate and artificial creation by means of an agreement or compact, among themselves.
The purpose of the state was to protect and guarantee the rights of individuals. Accordingly, its functions should be limited to this negative purpose and any extension of its authority beyond this field was a violation at the contract between people and government from which the letter drew its existence and authority.
Any interference with their natural right justified the people in resisting tyrannical or usurping state authority. Democracy and individualism arose together. Men desired to govern themselves. but they also wanted as little government as possible. They believed that the best govern intent is that which governs least.
Once democracy was in the saddle ,however, the attitude of the masses changed. Political power in the hands of the people was viewed with more labor than power in the hands of a king or a privileged class and the people were willing to trust large powers to a government which they believed they controlled. As the nineteenth century progressed. Rousseau’s theory of popular sovereignty and general will served a the basis for a rapid expansion of state activities for the purpose of promoting the general welfare.
By the close of the century socialism claimed to represent the democratic incitement and the purple who a century earlier had feared government and wished to limit its activities to a minimum, were clamoring for legislation involving a wide exercise oi the powers of state regulation and of state action to further social ends.
Accordingly modern supporter of individualism represent to some extent a reaction against the extreme theories of equality and democracy. They view the problem not from the standpoint of philosophic concepts of abstract justice or a natural rights but from a practical standpoint of the actual results no accomplished by state action. They doubt the competency of the modern state to judge wisely the needs society or to provide or them.
They point out the inefficiency and extravagance of government, the incompetence of its officials, the red tape in it procedure, and the delay in its action. Many persons believe that the state is already overburdened with duties that it is ill fitted to perform, and that there is a marked tendency toward over legislation. They believe that many functions would be better accomplished if left to private initiative, which has a more direct interest in the matter concerned and which is more likely to he progressive and enterprising.
History and experience, they hold, teach that attempts by the state to legislate concerning the details of social and economic life fail in their purpose and act as obstacles to progress. The individualist attitude is upheld today by certain interests that wish to escape government regulation, by many persons who Oppose governmental interference with their private lives and habits, by conservatives who fear the extension of socialist doctrines and practices, and by many thoughtful believers in democracy who fear that it will destroy itself by attempting more than it can successfully accomplish.
Individualism, as an economic principle, is based on the argument that free competition and unrestricted industry and commerce are more profitable than economic activities under government regulation or operation. This laissez-faire doctrine arose as a protest against the mercantile system of early modern states, with its paternalistic attitude toward industry and trade, and its purpose of increasing the national wealth, protecting home manufacturers, and securing a favorable balance of foreign trade.
Under this system national greatness, economic self-sufficiency, and a full treasury were aimed at, rather than the welfare of individual citizens. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the regulations and restrictions of the paternalistic governments had become increasingly burdensome, especially as economic conditions were changing and the doctrine of natural law and natural rights was applied to support the principle that the individual should exercise his economic activities with the least possible interference from the state. A “natural order” was believed to exist, whose arrangements were perfect, in contrast to the “positive order” whose laws were the human and imperfect rules of existing governments.
This natural order, it was held, should be allowed to work itself out in the economic world without interference from the state, Enlightened self-interest would best realize both individual and public welfare.
This point of view, the opposite of mercantilism, was worked out by the physiocrats in France and by the school of writers that accompanied the Industrial Revolution and centered around Adam Smith in England. In France, the chief attention was given to the encouragement of agriculture in England, to the the development of unrestricted foreign trade.
In the latter country machine production was replacing hand labor, the factory system Was destroying the restricted, domestic type of production, and transportation and commerce were undergoing rapid changes, England no longer feared competition, as she was able to produce manufactured goods more cheaply than her rivals. On the Other hand she was compelled to import food and raw materials, which she wished to buy in the cheapest markets.
Consequently the existing system of government regulation, based on the conditions which existed before the industrial changes, grew steadily out of harmony with the new conditions and with England’s economic interests. The economists argued that the free movement of capital, the free adjustment of prices on the basis of supply and demand and the free movement of trade from place to place would lead to the best economic adjustment in accordance with the working of natural economic laws.
Unrestricted competition would stimulate production, keep wages and prices at their normal level, prevent excessive rates of interest, increase national wealth, and promote individual and social welfare. These doctrines led to the repeal of many statutes regulating labor industry, and commerce, and gave an impetus, in the tint half of the nineteenth century, to the free-trade movement in Europe and in America. Private enterprise was encouraged, and state bounties and state-protected monopolies were destroyed.
Later, the evils growing out of unrestricted competition, especially as they affected the laboring classes, and the obvious advantages of combination and the need for its regulation led to a renewed demand for economic legislation. Likewise, the competition among states for markets and the desire to develop their industry and to secure increased revenue led to a return to the system of protective tariffs. At present the economic theory of individualism has been to a huge extent replaced by socialistic doctrines which justify extensive state action, and a huge part of modern legislation deals with economic questions.
Some of the supporters of individualism argued that it was in harmony with the biologic theory of evolution. Nature’s process was one of struggle for existence, resulting in the survival of the fittest. The result of this process was believed to be progress. Accordingly, interference by state action would impede natural development and do harm. Individuals should work out their destiny without governmental aid or control, in order that the lit should survive, the unlit be eliminated, and the best interests of society be furthered. Led by Herbert Spencer, this group of thinkers wished to limit the state, as one of the organs of society, to the performance of its essential functions only.
Government was a necessary evil, whose activities would diminish in scope as civilization developed, and all extensions of state action led to injurious consequences.
In applying the biologic analogy, upholders of individualism fail to consider the essential difference between mankind and the lower forms of life. While the latter are at the mercy of their environment and are transformed by it, man changes his environment and to a large extent controls his own development. He may thus to some extent avoid the injustice and waste which the process of natural selection otherwise necessitates.
Besides, since the survival of the fittest means only the fittest under given circumstances and not necessarily the survival of the best, as judged by any rational standard, man, by improving his conditions and directing his course of evolution, may make the fittest a far more desirable type.
Natural evolution results in retrogression as well as in progress. Hence collective activity, instead of being an interference with a beneficent law, may remove the Waste of competition, hasten progress, and make possible a higher type of individual and society.
In conclusion, the postulates of individualism may be stated as follows: Self-interest is a universal principle in human nature and, in the long run, each individual knows his own interests best and, in the absence of arbitrary restrictions, is sure to fol, low them.
If external restraint is removed, free competition will result, and such free competition always develops the highest human possibilities, by enabling each individual to do that for which he is best fitted, by eliminating unfit elements, and thus advancing the welfare of all.
Government and liberty are viewed as contradictory terms, and every assumption of authority by the State is considered an infringement upon individual freedom. From these premises it is argued that men have a right to be let alone, that it pays to let them alone, and that state action, beyond a narrow and necessary range of functions, is always injurious.
Against these arguments it may be stated that altruism, as well as self~interest, is a motive in human action, and that in some cases the persons concerned do not know their own interests and must be protected by collective action. Competition does not persist unless the competitors are comparatively equal in strength. Frequently governmental interference, by checking the aggression of the stronger, makes competition possible instead of destroying it.
Collective activity may also prevent the slow and wasteful action of natural evolution when this produces undesirable results in human affairs, or may bring its desirable features into operation if some impeding cause has interfered. History shows that the state is not always an evil, but that much human progress has resulted from wise state action. Its function is not merely that of repressive regulation, it may also foster and promote the general good.
Over government may be an evil, but government in itself is not only a necessity but may be a positive good. Instead of destroying freedom, the authority of the state is necessary to create and to protect it. The rights of all are widened by wise restriction upon the free actions of each. While useful in emphasizing the value of free door and self-reliance and the injurious effects of excessive state interference the theory of individualism does not furnish, under-modern conditions, a satisfactory basis for state functions.
As civilization progresses men become increasingly dependent upon me another, and all indications point to growing demands for state action. Control and regulation are necessary in the complex live of the modern world.
The theory of state regulation occupies an intermediate ground between that which desires a minimum and that which desires a maximum of state activity. it believes that, for many purposes, the individual should be free from state control. It favors, in general, the private ownership of property and the private control of business. At the same time, it places first the welfare of the whole people, and realizes that a considerable degree of state interference and regulation may be needed to accomplish this end.
Depending upon the Social and economic conditions that exist, it justifies state ownership and operation of such business as cannot be safely left in private hands or as can he more effectively managed by public control. It approves such legislation as is needed to regulate the lives and activities of the people, and the use and management of their property, for the general good. It aims to protect all classes in the state against injustice and exploitation.
The extent of state interference may vary as conditions change, but in each case state interference is to be judged by its results. This theory underlies the governmental activities of the United States and, with stronger socialistic tendencies, in Great Britain. Because of the growing complexity of modern life, and because of the increasing demand of the people for legislation in the public interest, the tendency of the past century has been toward more extensive state regulation under this theory.
Opposed to the theory of individualism stands a group of doctrines that favor collective control and a wide extension of public activities. While believing in individual Freedom, the supporters of these theories hold that it can be better secured under social regulation than by unrestricted individual competition. They believe that the instruments of production should be owned and operated and their products distributed by the organized community. State socialists would organism the community as a political body make. It the owner and manager of land, capital and the means of production, and extend its activities to all undertakings that would promote equality and social welfare.
They with to expand the activities of government not for the purpose of increasing the importance of the state but because they believe that in this way only can each individual be assured of justice and freedom. In most cases they propose radical alterations in the organization of the state, and view it as a fraternal, Cooperative commonwealth rather than as a paternal, political Unit. On the other hand, the communists look forward to the disappearance of the state, which they associate with the capitalist system.
Their ideal is that the whole body of the people, organized for productive purposes, but not armed with legal coercive power, should own and Operate the means of production. Extreme communists would abolish private property not only in land and the means of production but in all things. In general, state socialists look to the gradual and peaceful introduction of their system communists usually favor revolutionary action, by which the working classes will take over the control of the political organization of society.
The result of this revolution would be the creation of a new type of social organization, the state in a new form and under a different name. All socialist theories would enormously expand the activities of whatever system of social organization they propose to create.
The theory of socialism is not new. Among primitive peoples much property was held in common, and the life of the people was under extensive regulation. Ancient Sparta was organized under a strict regime of state socialism. The doctrines of the early Christian church contained many socialistic elements, and the medieval system of landholding and that of trade guilds and the practices of the monastic orders contained traces of the same idea.
The peasant revolts that followed the Protestant Reformation were distinctly socialistic in nature Idealistically schemes of social reconstruction along socialist line have been proposed by many great thinkers since the time of Plato. In the early years of the nineteenth century numerous proposals were put forward for social and economic reconstruction, and were followed by the establishment of communities in which socialist experiments were put into practice.
Many of these reforms looked to the state to give general application to their proposals. Modem socialism is based largely on the doctrines oi Kart Marx and claims to be scientific in that it is based on an analysis and understanding if the true nature of industrial society which the earlier socialists lacked.
Marx believed that men’s actions at all times were dominated by economic motives, which determined the nature of social and political organization, also that there has been a constant struggle between economic classes and that the class which secures economic power organizes and controls the state to protect and advance its own interests. History is a record of this class struggle. All wealth, Marx believed, was produced by labor, but only a part of it was secured by the laborers who produced it.
The remainder was appropriated, in the form of surplus value, by the capitalist class, who exploited the laborers. Capital tended to be concentrated in the hands of a few the proletariat constantly increased in numbers. As the workers became conscious of their power, they would unite as a class, wrest power from the propertied class, establish common ownership and operation of the means of production do away with private profits, and distribute the entire product of labor among the workers who created it.
While Marx believed that an inevitable law operated in historical development, he also taught that the exploited class should exert itself to hasten the transition from one economic stage to the next. This tradition was usually marked by violence on the part of the oppressed hence history was a series of revolutions. Accordions to Marx, each economic class in power creates the forces which ultimately destroy it the overthrow comes by revolutionary action on the part of the new class which comes into economic and political power. The next stage in history.
would see capitalism replaced by communism. The workers would seize political power, and use the state as a means tor bringing the communist regime into operation. Once this Was accomplished, however, the need for the state would disappear, and nonpolitical organs for the direction and control of the production and distribution of economic goods would be created.
Class distinctions would be destroyed, all would be workers, and the class struggles would come to an end. Political powers, Marx believed, was the organized power of one class to oppress another. It there were no ruling class, there would be established an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. Workingmen of all countries were urged to unite, and the movement was given an international basis.
From these doctrines modern socialist movements started. Some look forward to socialism as an ideal to be realized by gradually extending governmental functions and by increasing public control over great industrial combinations. They are willing to use the state and to accomplish their reforms step by step. Others oppose any compromise, and favor an uprising of the masses, who will establish a socialist system by overthrowing existing governments and confiscating property in private hands.
Some believe that this may be accomplished peacefully and voluntarily, because of a general recognition of the evils of the present system others believe that a violent revolution alone can accomplish their purpose. Neither are socialists agreed as to the method of distributing income among the members of a socialist society. Some believe that, under the economies and improved production of socialism, distribution would present no difficult because of the abundance of wealth.
Others recommend that everything he held in common, each producing according to his capacity and receiving according to his need. Another group advocates equality of wages, sometimes with the proviso that all persons perform equal amounts of labor, according to a system of units of labor-time, based on the attractiveness or repulsive nest of the occupation. Others would allow officials, chosen by the workers and responsible to them, to assign laborers to their duties when necessary and to arrange wages.
In general, socialist theory has been critical rather than constructive, and has given little attention to the structural organization of society that is to replace the existing state. The present political state, the socialists believe, is based on force and exists for the protection of the economic interests of capitalists. Their system however, would require an elaborate organization or the purpose of carrying on production in a scientific and rational manner and for distributing the proceeds among the workers.
The functions performed by this organization would be more elaborate than those performed by the governments they oppose. They argue however, that political power would not be needed, since the aim of the socialist organization would be the advancement of the interests of the entire society composed of a single class that its directions would be voluntarily obeyed by all, so that obedience would not need to be enforced and that those who operate the machinery would not constitute a governing class, but would be workers performing public functions as a part of the unified community. Police and courts would not be needed if there were no laws imposed upon men by an authority above their control military force would not be needed if the world were organized as an international unit.
Among other advantages it is asserted that socialism would remedy the wastefulness and the injustice in the existing economic system. Its supporters believe that, under scientific and rational control, the economic needs of the community could be accurately estimated and the available land labor, and capital apportioned, so that the necessary quantity of each kind of goods would be produced.
Unnecessary competition and duplication Would be prevented, the expenses of advertising and competitive selling would be avoided, and the production of goods that are harmful would be forbidden. The resultant saving in productive power could be applied either to increase the amount of goods produced or to shorten the hours of labor, or both. The present system of haphazard competitive production and selling they believe to be extravagant and wasteful, to rank in low wages and unemployment. Under a regulated cooperative system these evils would disappear.
The inequalities of wealth and opportunity under the capitalist system are particularly repugnant to socialists. They argue that, under private ownership of land and the increasing use at machinery and combination of capital, the labor unable to apply himself directly to the means of production, must make a forced bargain with landlord or capitalist, that under this system the laborer receives far less than his proper share of the product, since landlords and capitalists receive enormous and Undeserved rent, interest, and profits Speculators and middlemen further reduce the laborer’s share.
They believe that land and accumulated capital should belong to all, not to a privileged few, and that income should be equalized by protecting the weak against exploitation. Society, they believe, is an organic unit, and the welfare of all is more important than that of a few. Hence regulation in the interest or the general good is justified.
From a mural standpoint, socialists argue that the capitalist system individual character, encourages dishonesty and dishonesty and emphasizes material success judged interns of wealth. A socialist regime would create a more despicable type of character and a better standard of values. Instead of depending upon sell-interest as a spur to industrial activity, it would rely upon the love of activity for its own sake, the desire to contribute to the common good, the sense of duty in the performance of tasks that are largely voluntary, and the ambition to win social esteem through conspicuous social service.
Altruism rather than selfishness would dominate men’s actions, and a harmonious development of character would result. Socialists argue that modern era democracy has been applied only in the political field. They would extend it also to economic affairs. The fact that men have the right to vote is of little value if wide differences in wealth give influence and power to a small class. Equality in property, they believe, is essential to equality in political rights hence socialism is the economic complement of democracy.
Without discussing the economic fallacy of socialism in ascribing an undue share of production to labor alone, some of the practical objections to the system may be pointed out. The difficulties of administration would be enormous. Such questions as the apportionment of laborers among the various department of industry, the assignment of values to products and labor, the quantity of goods to be produced, the result proportion oi capital goods and consumers goods, and the distribution of income-all of which are now regulated, imperfectly to be sure, by the law of demand and supply-are complex problems whose artificial adjustment would require administrative ability of the highest order. Socialists overestimate the capacity and efficiency of the state.
Experience shows that state action is slow and mechanical, lacking in initiative and in willingness to experiment, If the incentive of competition and the hope of reward were removed, improvements would be retarded. individual initiative would be checked, and in the attempt to remove inequalities there would be danger of reducing life to the dull uniformity of stagnation. Under state control, government managers would lack interest, production would diminish, and all would be reduced to a low level of poverty.
Serious dangers would arise because of the opportunities for corruption, intrigue, and personal spite in a socialist state. The connection at present existing between business and politics is the source of many evils in government strengthening that connection until they become practically identical would, under present moral conditions, scarcely tend toward improvement Against the power of bosses, in a socialist state, there would be little possibility of resistance and little chance of fair play.
In opposition to the socialist claim that their system is democratic heir opponents argue that it results inevitably in despotism and dictatorship. A government exercising such wide Powers as socialism demands cannot remain under the control of the people hut tends to become bureaucratic and irresponsible. Under Socialism society would be regimented and disciplined, individual freedom would disappear, a government with inquisitorial and despotic power would reduce the individual to virtual Slavery.
Socialists are inclined to be too optimistic in underrating the psychological obstacles to their plan. The ave-mm man is neither so inclined to work nor so zealous for general welfare as Socialism demands. Neither is the sense of duty sufficiently developed, nor public opinion, on which social esteem must depend sufficiently discriminating to obviate the necessity for com impulsion. Opponents of socialism argue that its principle run counter to human nature in expecting the able and industrious to share equally with the stupid and improvident. When man kind it perfected to the point that socialism demands, it will make little difference what form of organization is adopted.
It is unquestionably true that numerous reforms in social legislation hate been either the direct work of socialism in politics the indirect results of its influence, or concessions to in strength. Socialist political parties, of varying strength, have been formed in most modern states, and in some cases control the government in Russia a socialist experiment is being tried on a large scale.
All states today perform functions that are socialistic in character, and the tendency to widen the activities of the state in recent years has been marked. An impetus to this tendency was given by the two world Vars, which compelled the governments of the belligerent nations to operate or control many economic activities necessary to the successful prosecution of the war. Even in the United States, where the individualist theory of government has been most firmly indentured, a sentiment in favor of state regulation has steadily grown.
Fear of strong government and belief in unrestrained competition have been replaced by a recognition of the need of a well equipped government with broad powers to regulate unfair competition and to promote social efficiency and general welfare. In all democratic countries the form of democracy is being filled out with a content of social and industrial meaning to keep pace with the complex facts of modern life.
Since the beginning of the present century, several theories of state organization and function, containing new and interesting principles, have been proposed and have been given some practical application in modern states. These doctrines represent a reaction against the principles of constitutional, representative democracy which were dominant in the nineteenth century. They show the strong influence of recent philosophical ideas and the growing importance of economic interests in the state.
All of them show the influence excreted by socialistic ideas during the past century and base there political organizations , wholly or in part on the on occupational group of the people. Some of them show of anarchism doctrines and tend to minimize the political organization, or to deny its exclusive claim to sovereign power,or at least to decent its organization. Others represent renewed confidence a strong, centralized, national state. The Most important of these recent theories are:
Syndicalism, as a theory of social and political philosophy, is French in origin. It grew up as a result of a century of revolutionary conditions and of political disillusionment and distrust of politicians. It also attained strength in Italy, where, as in France small industries prevailed and industrial development was relatively static in the United States it was represented by the Industrial worker of the world.
As compared with conditions in England, labor unions in France and Italy were weak, loosely held together and possessed oi small economic resources. They could not look forward to improvement in economic conditions through their existing strength hence violent and revolutionary methods seemed necessary.
Syndicalism combined the economic doctrines of the socialists, the political theory of anarchism that distrusted the state as the tool of capitalism, and the direct nonpolitical methods of the trade-unions. It rests upon a pragmatic philosophy.
It believes that organization and rational control prevent growth, and that free activity should be encouraged. Self-help alone can bring progress intuition, sentiment and passion are safer guides than reason.
The syndicalists believe that the state arose to protect the economic interests of the dominant groups, and that it supports privileges and class distinctions. It uses its armed force to put down strikes. It wages war to protect the economic interests of capitalists. In its internal functions it perpetuates injustice and permits the exploitation of the worker. They believe that the sound at political authority is economic power, and that popular sovereignty is impossible unless the workers control the means of production.
They oppose all forms of political govern, Will and lawn a non coercive organization based on the produce the immune of the economic society. Believing that control by law destroys individual initiative, they refuse active participation in polities, favoring direct economic action rather than political pressure.
They believe that gradual disintegration of government is inevitable and that, as a class consciousness grows, a miss oi revolutions will culminate in the final general strike that will authority the state and secure for the workers control of the major industries, which they will thenceforth own and operate.
Through their unions they will exercise such general or political control as may be necessary. Meantime they favor sabotage, which includes deliberate reduction of output, destruction of machinery and material, and the production of poor work.
While syndicalist theory is destructive rather than constructive. it gives some attention to the form of social organization that is desired. Local workers in a trade, organized into a syndicate will control that trade but capital will be owned in common by all the syndicates, which are to be grouped into national federations according to trades. The various syndicates in a community will he affiliated through a local labor exchange, which will exercise judicial and police powers.
A national congress will be composed of delegates from the local labor exchanges and the national trade federations. The characteristic features of the proposed system are its extreme decentralization and the slight control which it is expected to exert. In its separation of towns along functional lines, it represents the pluralistic tendency in modem theory.
In its relaxation of control, it represent the movement toward anarchistic individualism. In its use of economic units as the basis of organization, it resembles the system of guild socialism and the soviet. Its ideal is economic federalism and workers control, the substitution of a proletarian for what is now considered to be a capitalism government.
2. Guild socialism:
Guild socialism, which has its chief strength in England, combines the state-ownership concept of the socialists and the idea of producers control urged by the syndicalists. It aims to separate political and economic functions. While syndicalism is concerned with the interests of producers only, guild socialism is interested in the welfare of both producers and consumers. On this theory the workers, organized into occupational unions, or guilds, should control the work of production the consumers, represented by the state, should own the means of production.
To this is added the pluralistic theory of sovereignty based upon function. Emphasizing the diverse interests of consumers and producers, guild socialist-s argue that it is impossible to secure adequate representation and influence for both in the parliaments of the political state as it is now organized. Believing that economic dominance finds its expression in political dominance, they View existing governments as democratic in form, but as controlled, in reality, by the capitalist classes. Guild socialists believe that industry, religion, education, and other essential activities should each have its own organization and control its own affairs and that the state should interfere only as a last resort, or should stand on a par with other natural groups, with final authority to adjust disputes resting in a body that represents all essential interests.
Like anarchism and syndicalism, guild socialism manifests a strong dislike of the state, especially in its control of economic interests. It opposes state socialism perplexing that it would result in a bureaucratic and undemocratic system. It prefers to set up a decentralized organization, in which the state looks after such matters as public conduct, international relations education, and public health. Autonomous and cooperating occupational groups will determine hours and conditions of labor, wages, and prices. There will thus be established um major democracies, one economic, one Political, but nigher completely sovereign.
powerful labor unions, with the shop unit an important basis of representation and a national guild congress the supreme industrial body. From one point of View, guild socialism represents a reaction against the large-scale machine industry of the present day, as well as against the state. It looks back to the medieval period, with its small, decentralized, handicraft industry, which developed the personality of the workers and made possible pride in workmanship.
Guild socialists agree that control over production must be taken from the state and placed in the hands of economic groups. They agree also that the state, somewhat reorganized, perhaps, to correspond with natural regional divisions, must remain as one of the essential institutions, performing certain services. On the relation of the state to the industrial organizations they differ. Some would recognize the ultimate sovereignty of the state over the guilds, allowing it to adjust conflicts among the producers crafts and to intervene in industrial affairs in exceptional cases when demanded by public interest.
Others believe that the state, as the supreme territorial association, represents the interests of consumers, while a congress of national guilds, the supreme occupational association, should represent the interests of producers. Between these a federal adjustment should be made, with disputes settled by a body representing both producers and consumers. Under this system the means of coercion, including the judiciary and the police, would be under the control of the coordinating body.
Guild socialists argue that the state should not possess industrial sovereignty, and that the separation of governmental powers should be along functional lines. In the later writings of this group, there has been a tendency to shift emphasis from national to local adjustments between producers and consumers and to favor the separate representation of the various interests within the state, thus replacing the state by a federation of natural associations.
While the guild socialists, in their effort to destroy the monastic sovereignty of the state, have not been able to define clearly the restrictive fields of the various social groups or to make satisfactory provision for a superior coordinating authority to adjust conflicts among them, they have contributed ideas of value.
At a time of increasing governmental control of industry, they mum a warning against the dangers of bureaucratic power and suggest possible methods of sell-engorgement in industry hey attack the tendency toward centralization in government, favoring local and regional autonomy. They propose modifications of the basis of representation, preferring functional and occupational representation to that of territorial population groups. Their interest in developing initiative and personality in the worker is also of fundamental importance in a democracy.
Guild socialism wishes to decentralize the powers of an omnipotent sovereign state in order to save the individual from institutional tyranny. In this process it welcomes the aid of the various associations and communities that result from natural human interests. It attempts to devise a social machinery that will adequately represent the various interests of men in a complex modern society.
Whether its plan would result in an anarchy of groups, or whether the great industrial organization would become a new form of all-powerful sovereign, as remote from popular control and as autocratic as the state which it would replace, are pertinent questions. What the guild socialists really propose is a reorganization of the state and a redistribution of its powers, rather than the destruction of the state itself. The attempt to assign international affairs to the political government and the control of economic interests to the guilds seems impossible in a world where economic interests and international problems are closely related.
The theory of communism is especially important because of its practical application in present-day Russia and because of the attempts to extend this doctrine into other countries. It represents the extreme form of modern socialism. It teaches that control should be in the hands of the working classes, but that such control cannot be gained by political action or by peaceful means, since the state is dominated by capitalists through their control of economic power and of the means of influencing public opinion.
Hence it urges the workers to seize the state by revolution and to use it as an agent to crush the remnant ts of capitalism. Through the dictatorship of the proletariat a communist system is to be instituted. This is to be accomplished by debarring from voting or holding office all attached to the capitalist class, by using force to check any attempt to restore capitalism, by assigning to labor all former capitalists, by preventing any party of opposition and any criticism of communisr doctrines, and by drilling the younger generation in the principles of communism.
By these means class distinctions will be abolished, all will become workers, and the political state will wither away. Temporarily an organized minority may exercise control Ultimately the majority, organized along lines of economic function and on the basis of equality, will work according to their abilities, and receive according to their services and the need for force is expected to disappear. Social control will be tested in the people regarded as a single producing and consuming class.
Communist theory substitutes the international for the national point of view, believing in the solidarity of interests of the working people in all nations. In practice Russian policy is becoming increasingly nationalistic and militaristic.
“Equality of rights of citizens of the U.S.S.R irrespective of their nationality or race, in all spheres of economic state, cultural, social and political life” is provided for in the fundamental laws. Like its predecessors, the new Soviet constitution does not apply the pineapple of separation of powers. Although the constitutions vests legislative power in the Supreme Soviets and executive power in the Governments, the “Governments” are appointed by as well as accountable and responsible to the Soviets.
The Soviet system more closely approximates the parliamentary form of government, although one of the essential features of the parliamentary system-the resignation of the executive upon losing the confidence of the legislature-has not, as yet, been applied under the Soviet system , nor is the U.S.S.R. a truly federal system. Although the Republics are allowed to to the U.S.S.R as well as the Overwhelming authority vested in the U.S.S.R makes federalism meaningless. Further centralization is achieved by the dominant position of the communist party in both spheres of authority.
A more recent theory of the state was the Fascist conception, which was developed by Italian writers and given practical application in the Italian Fascist state. Certain features of this doctrine later exerted considerable influence in neighboring states, especially Austria and Germany. The fascists attacked the liberal and democratic theories of the nineteenth century with their emphasis on equality and individualism and their belief that the purpose of the state is to promote the welfare of its individual members. Fascist theory was strongly influenced by the biological conception of organic unity and applied this idea to the state.
To Fascists the state was more that a collection of individuals. It had a life and a unity of its own its existence and its ends were more important than those of it individual members and in case of conflict the interests of the individual must be subordinated to those of the state. Fascist theory emphasized the historical development and the continuous existence of the state. Its preservation, expansion and improvement must receive first consideration.
The duty oi the individual to the state, rather than the rights of the individual to freedom, was important. This emphasis on duty Was Considered the highest ethical value of Fascism. The necessity of sacrifice on the part of the individual in case oi state need formed the justification for war, which the Fascists viewed as an eternal law of mankind.
Fascist theory closely approached the transcendental conception of the state as worked out by Hegel and the other German idealists. Some of its supporters even showed traces of the divine-right doctrine in their glorification of the state.
The Fascist ideal was a state organized to promote efficient a disciplined people producing to the maximum in accordant with a program which corresponded to the interests of the national organism. It was the duty of the citizen to subordinate his interests to those of the state, and the tight at the state, if necessary, to compel him to do so.
Fascists rejected the theory of democracy and popular sovereignty. For them the state, not the people, was the possessor of sovereignty. They had no confidence in the political ability of the masses or in the control of a public opinion or a general will. They denied that the people have any inherent or inalienable right to determine the form of their government or to take part in it or to dictate its policies.
They believed that government should be in the hands of a few strong and able men, wisely selected and that the masses misled by schemer‘s and demagogues, are not competent to choose wisely. Hence the opposed parliamentary government based on a wide electorate. Individuals should he called upon to take part in political life in proportion to the importance they assume in the life of the state, and in a form of grouping determined by considerations of state welfare. Fascists believed that this is best secured by functional organization by the establishment of trade-unions. Employers associations, cooperative bodies, guilds, and the like, such as those proposed by the theories of syndicalism and guild socialism.
Fascists repudiated the socialist doctrine of class struggle. In the Fascist state, capital and labor must cooperate, under compulsion if necessary, for the good of the state. This economic organization was imposed upon the people by the state, and was used as a basis for the selection of representatives to a national legislative body. Fascist doctrine however, placed chief emphasis on executive and administrative officials, which form the real government.
The legislative means were expected to advise and collaborate with the executive, rather than to rule the nation. Fascists agreed with communists that only one party should be tolerated in the state. that the leaders of the party should control the government, that criticism of its policies should not be permitted and that the state should control the educational system and the means of influencing public Opinion for the purpose of impressing Fascist ideas upon the people, especially hum the coming generation.
Fascist theory combined the idea of social solidarity and public service, as urged by Duguit, with the syndicalist form of economic organization for the purpose maximum economic production. It justified the use of fear and force, and used the pragmatic test of efficiency as the only useful standard. Work discipline, unity, and action were Fascist slogans.
Fascist theory opposed the doctrine of internationalism and exalted the national state as an independent and organized unit, the natural result of historical growth. The highest form of state was one in which political unity coincided with ethnic and geographic unity and a community of historical tradition. The duty of the state was to itself not to the world as a whole. It must promote its strength and realize its legitimate national development.
If a vigorous and prolific state needs room for its people, or needs raw materials that it can not produce, a policy of expansion was instituted. Hence Fascist theory tended to be militaristic and imperialistic, to view war as sometimes necessary and desirable, to emphasize the aspects of power and will in the state, and to apply to State action ethical standards of conduct different from those that prevail among individuals.
Fascism derived many of its principles from earlier Italian writer. It looked back to St. Thomas Aquinas, who emphases the necessity of unity in the political field and pointed out the dangers of rule by the many and the advantages of rule by one.
It drew upon the ideas of Vico, who attacked the natural law philosophers of the eighteenth century and pointed out the value of history and experience criticized democracy, subordinated private to public interests, and asserted that light was of no avail without force. It owed much to the pragmatic philosophy of B. Croce,t with his emphasis on the living force of history and his praise of great men of courage and daring. Fascists constantly appealed to the Roman tradition for the purpose of stimulating national pride and patriotism.
Their doctrine incorporated the ideals of Mazzini with his emphasis on nationalism and on the duty of sacrifice and his appeal to the ardent ideals of youth. Fascists had a special admiration for Machiavelli partly because he was an Italian and sought to promote Italian unity, partly because of his practical and realistic attitude toward politics and of his belief in the use of force and the value bf expansion, but especially because he gave such a high place to the state. Signor Rocco one of the leading apologists of Fascism, says:
His writings, on inexhaustible mine of practical remarks and precious observations reveal dominant in him the state idea, no longer abstract but to the full historical concreteness of the national life. Machiavelli therefore to not only the greatest of modern political writers he is also the greatest of our contrary men in full possession of a national Italian Consciousness.
5. National Socialism:
Influenced somewhat by the Fascist doctrines of Italy, but mainly by various lines of thought already existing in Germany the theory of National Socialism (Nazisn) was developed in Germany and put into opener on during the Regine of Adolf Hitler he desire of Germany to average her defeat in the First World War the weakness oi the Wiemar Republic, and the world-wide economic depression have impetus to the new movement.
Nazi theory favored a totalitarian state in which every individual and associations subordinated to national interest under a centralized government directed by a strong leader (Fiihrer) . The economic System was planned by the state, with employment guaranteed and strikes forbidden. While property was left mainly under private ownership control by the state of its use and profit was extensive.
As Fascism looked back to the grandeur of Rome, Nazism revived the ancient tribal ideas of the Germanic peoples. It viewed Christianity, with its emphasis on humility and brotherly love as a weak religion, and favored the war goth if early Germanic myths. Especially hostile to the jews, Nazism taught the superiority of the Aryan Germans and their right to rule or to destroy inferior people.
Following the tribal doctrine of the blood bond, it held that Germans, wherever they might live, were members of the German nation and owed allegiance to it. Need for living-room (Lebensmum) necessitated expansion small states had no rights military potter was essential and war was the supreme expression of the organic national state. Pacifism and internationalism were especially opposed.
The Nazi theory despised democracy, with its competing parties and legislative supremacy. It allowed only one party composed of the life, forbade criticism or opposition to the ruling group, and emphasized executive control in the hands of a supreme dictator. Elections were held merely to register approval of the candidates and policies of the government, and laws were issued in the form of executive decrees.
By indoctrination of youth, elaborate propaganda, and control by well-organized police it aimed at unity of thought and unquestioning obedience. Women were relegated to a position of inferiority and urged to bear children to add numbers to the superior rare and to strengthen the military power of the state.
Certain differences and similarities may be noted in the theories of Communism and of Fascism-Nazism. They are unlike in their attitude to private property, though both favor a state Planned economy. They differ in their attitude to women and to inferior peoples communism favored equality of the sex and races and of nationalities.
Fascism and Nazism look back to the history and ideas of their past communism at first ignored the past and began with the idea of a new order Both Nazism and communism, however, are distinctly hostile to religion and to political democracy. The political organization of both is essentially similar, consisting of a strong executive head, a centralized governmental system, and a single party and both utilize youth organizations, propaganda, and a police system to create unity of belief and to enforce strict obedience.
While communism is essentially internationalist in its outlook, Fascism and Nazism are strongly nationalist in their point of View. In recent years, communism, as applied in the Soviet Union, has also become more nationalistic, more militaristic, and more imperialistic in its practices. The withering away oi the state, prophesied by Marx, is not in evidence,
These newer theories of state organization and function represent certain interesting and important tendencies in contemporary political thought. In some respects they show striking contradictions. Some view the problem in its international aspects and would diminish the importance of separate and independent states in the interests of world unity. Others lay stress on the national state and oppose international organization or control.
Some would strengthen the control of the state internally Others would destroy the state or weaken it by dividing its functions among offer forms of social organization. All of them show a reaction against the form of political democracy and of territorial representation according to population which was considered the great achievement of the nineteenth century.
Against this appear, on the one hand, Communist doctrines, which aim at a further expansion of authority toward the goal of economic equality, and, on the other hand, Fascist doctrines, which are antidemocratic and aim at efficiency and rule by selected experts. All agree in organizing the state, to Some extent at least, along lines of economic function and in giving to the economic structure a large degree of control over the economic activities of society.
This suggests the most important aspect of recent theory: the struggle between economic and political power in the modem state. Church and state competed for supremacy in the medieval period, and that issue was settled when each found proper field. No such solution is possible in the present controversy, since economics and politics cannot be separated, each constantly acting and reacting on the other. In their external relations, states use their political power to accomplish their economic aims but political frontiers are not coterminous with economic frontiers, and confusion results.
In its internal activities the state cannot ignore the economic field, since many of its aspects demand regulation which only law can secure. The state properly intervenes to uphold social standards, to prevent exploitation and manifest in justice, to remove the needless hazards of the economic struggle, to assure and advance the general interest against the carelessness or selfishness of particular groups, to control monopolies so that the public may be protected against their exactions, to see that the future well-being of the country is not jeopardized by the pursuit of immediate gains. The great internal struggles of modern states are concerned with the problem of the nature and extent of state control over the economic order.
Even less can economic forces ignore the state. On the contrary, they are always exerting an influence upon its government. The nature and amount of taxes are important concerns of all economic classes. Economic interests that are unequal and opposed constantly appeal to the state for aid. Workers desiring better conditions of labor or shorter hours or higher wages, manufacturers desiring protective tariffs or protection against labor unions, consumers opposing monopoly prices all are anxious to control the policy of the government for the purpose of securing their aims. The great cleavages in modern society are economic, and from them political parties derive their vitality. The fact that the centers of economic and of political power do not coincide in modern states creates that Chief difficulty.
Democracy gives to the working classes preponderant voting power, but it does not give them corresponding control over the wealth of the country. Consequently there results, on the one hand, the effort of the workers to use their political power to secure more equal distribution of wealth and! an the other hand, the effort of those in possession of economic power to control public opinion to dominate the government behind the scenes, or to attack democracy and urge the efficient ale of a bureaucratic administrative state.
Recent development in political theory centers in attempts to combine political economic power, in the hope that function of political and economic interests will remove the conflict between them To what extent this is possible or desirable is a much disputed question. The present trend in that direction is, however apparent.
The economic organization is being utilized to an increasing degree as a legal part of the governmental system in many states. Modem states have abandoned the theory of laissez faire and are using their political power to improve the conditions of the masses, to establish minimum standards, and to narrow the economic gap that separates the classes. If this process continues, the cleavage between capital and labor will be lessened, and the economic order will be more unified. What form the state will take in the new system of society is a question that only the future can answer.